Ira Goldstein has repaired thousands of watches. He never tires of the steady tick tock rhythm.
"A watch is so tiny, just a little thing. You have to look under a loupe to see everything. It's like a little world of its own with a heart of its own," Goldstein said.
Goldstein is one of the few watchmakers left in the Treasure Valley. His small shop, Timekeeper Watch Repair and Sales, is located in Eagle.
Goldstein puts to use years of experience and education to work on the tiny machines. He studied at the American Watchmaker's Institute in Ohio, one of six watchmaking schools remaining in the United States.
"I've always loved watches since I was a kid. I was working at a jewelry store after college and one day I spoke to the watchmaker that did the trade work for our store. A couple months later he called me, and said he had more work than he could keep up with. He asked if i wanted to apprentice with him. I immediately quit my other job and went to work with him, and learn the trade," Goldstein recalled.
Goldstein works on all types of watches, from antique pocket watches to mechanical watches, to quartz battery operated watches, carefully disassembling and reassembling hundreds of parts in a single watch.
"Mechanical watches are just like a car engine. After several years the oils start getting dirty, gummed up and dried out in there. The watch starts slowing down and won't run properly, so they need to be serviced every so often. I'll take apart the movement, clean it in the ultrasonic cleaner, and it gets reassembled with a new spring," Goldstein said.
"A lot of my hand tools date to the early 1900's, and they are still applicable today. I like that this trade is kind of a combination of old world craftsmanship and new technology," Goldstein continued.
Goldstein is a watch collector himself. He owns several hundred railroad pocket watches.
Each watch that makes its way to his shop has a story of where it's been and where it came from. Timepieces are sentimental to all of us.
"The misconception is that nobody wears watches anymore and everyone just uses their cell phone, but that's not true completely. A lot of people like having their watches whether or not they technically need it. They might use it as a piece of jewelry, or they like to have something on their wrist. In fact, so many people do wear watches and need their watch repaired that most watchmakers have a several month backlog of work orders. There's a lot of work in this trade if somebody wants to get into it," said Goldstein.
So check your jewelry boxes for watches and family heirlooms. Goldstein can likely get it ticking once again.
Timekeeper Watch Repair and Sales is located in Eagle at 1121 East State Street, Suite #100. Business hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call (208) 938-9933 for more information.
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